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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  March 4, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EST

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on this sunday night from the storm zone in indiana, the recovery. after that deadly wave of tornadoes. plus, remarkable stories of survival and helping hands. the other first responders showing compassion and the kindness of strangers. tough talk. president obama tells israel and time, but says he won't hesitate to use force against iran if necessary. making the grade. a new way to teach the teachers the novel idea to help better educate our kids. and, sweet success in black and white. tonight, celebrating a century with milk's favorite cookie. 6
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captions paid for by nbc-universal television >> good evening. tonight as more and more improbable stories of survival emerge from friday's tornado rampage, the word merckle iracl being used an awful lot. this house continued to stand, he is survived as the neighborhood around her sin disintegrated. look to the left, the only thing left of her neighbor's house and the front porch. on this side of the house, take a look, speaks for itself. the massive twitter that struck here in henryville, an ef-4 was the largest of as many as 79 tornadoes across a dozen states. the largest tornado outbreak ever recorded for the month of march. the official death count is 38, most in kentucky and indiana where we learned today that one
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little injured survivor who captured our heart and our hopes lost her battle. meantime, today, as resident kamz s came to collect they air belongings, they were reminded what an unusual season this has been. >> it is cold right now here. we have seen hundreds of police officers, national guard troops, insurance agents and an army of civilians who have come to help get these towns back up on their feet. sunday in southern indiana, and another race to beat mother nature. with snow predicted tonight, an all-out push to clear out, cut down and pick up as much as possible before night fall. but the job, quite simply, is enormous. just restoring power and phone service is a challenge. leon gilbert spent the day picking through you what what i his family's farm.
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he lived here all his life. >> i've seen my family's life, life's work, that i've been a part of, my brother, my sisters, my kids, their kids, my whole family has been part of -- it has been what we do. >> reporter: vietnam vet joanne murphy just moved here six months ago from san antonio. she rode out the storm in her closet. >> as soon as they looked up and saw the sky, i said, my house is gone. >> reporter: more than 48 hours later, the scale of the damage is still hard to comprehend. the weather channel's veteran storm tracker jim cantore. >> if we're getting 175-mile-per-hour winds now, this early in march, what does it say for the rest of the season. >> the fact it will get warmer with the jet stream we have now this pattern has the potential to repeat itself and we have the potential to have a very active and deadly season. >> reporter: in indiana, more than a dozen are dead. today, 14-month-old angel
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babcock died. she had been found alive, critically injured in a field, after being thrown 150 yards from her home. her parents, brother and sister were all killed. meanwhile, in kentucky, 20 are dead. in west liberty, kentucky, utter destruction. >> i just thought we was going to die. at the end, i just thought, you know, it was over. >> reporter: today, in west liberty, they were back at it, across the region, family, friends, total strangers came together, helping hands and gloves picking up what mother nature destroyed. mary birch and her husband don't know anyone in marysville, indiana, but they came. >> i couldn't imagine all my things laying all over the -- all over the ground. i couldn't. >> reporter: that's why you're here? >> absolutely. everybody does a little bit, it will get much better faster. >> reporter: everyone has a story. in alabama, greg cook lost his home, but only cared about finding his best friend, coco.
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he did. beating mother nature. you know what really strikes you as you go through the towns, these are people's lives, all of their earthly possessions, very precious mementos for them, just blown out for the whole world to see and to walk through. it is such an invasion of privacy and so tragic. >> and in some cases we heard of documents and things being found dozens of miles away. doesn't remain necessarily around where it began. tom costello, thanks, tom. neighboring kentucky, which as you heard was also hit hard, weather channel meteorologist mike bettes is part of our nbc news team, he's covering the story there for us tonight. mike, good evening to you. >> reporter: lester, good evening to you. it was just a short 48 hours ago that west liberty, kentucky was living through a nightmare as the strongest tornado to ever hit this town was roaring through. it left a noticeable scar here along main street, almost looks like a hollywood movie set than real life. but it is all too real to these business owners. most of these buildings will have to come down. they won't be salvageable and
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they'll be demolished. senator mitch mccome wnnell wase today. fema will be there for them, bringing a noticeable change in the coming days and weeks. in the meantime, the american red cross is housing 115 storm victims at a local school here. schools will be closed tomorrow. and, lester, as i'm sure you already know, to add insult to injury, winter weather is rolling in, 1 to 3 inches of snow is expected through tomorrow morning, i'm sure the last thing they wanted to hear here. >> mike bettes, mike, thanks. we turn to an issue making a lot of people increasingly nervous, about iran and its nuclear program. it was a backdrop today as president obama addressed this country's most important pro israel lobbying group, apac. trying to tone down talk of war with iran and the eve of an important meeting with israel's prime minister. we get the latest from nbc's mike viqueira. >> reporter: today president obama left no doubt, iran's nuclear ambitions must be
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stopped. >> when it comes to preventing iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, i will take no options off the table. and i mean what i say. >> reporter: with expectations growing of an israeli strike against eye reason's nuclear site, the president reassured a key ally and supporters in apac. >> when the chips are down, i have israel's back. >> reporter: but the president also appealed for time to allow sanctions against iran to work, and called on leaders to tone down the rhetoric. >> already there is too much loose talk of war. for the last few weeks such talk has only benefited the iranian government by driving up the price of oil. >> reporter: the speech come on the eve of israeli president benjamin netanyahu's visit to the white house for a crucial meeting. it will be the ninth face to face session in what has been a rocky relationship. visiting canada friday, netanyahu made his stance on iran clear. >> like any sovereign country, we reserve the right to defend ourselves against a country that
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calls and works for our destruction. >> reporter: as tension mounts, the issue has spilled into the campaign. republicans accuse the president of being soft on iran. >> if barack obama gets re-elected, iran will have a nuclear weapon and the world will change. >> reporter: experts say there can be little doubt of israel's resolve. >> if the israelis judge that their interests require an attack on iran's incipientient nuclear facilities before the end of the calendar year, very little, there is very little any american president in my judgment will say or would say to stop them. >> reporter: and, lester, it would be difficult to overstate the stakes involved here. experts say if there is a military strike against the iranian facilities, iran would likely retaliate against u.s. forces across the region. lester? >> mike viqueira at the white house. thanks. we're just two days from super tuesday, the biggest day so far in the republican presidential campaign. with contests in 11 states. mitt romney is coming off his latest victory in yesterday's
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washington state caucuses. nbc's peter alexander is on the trail in ohio. >> reporter: stumping across the south today, mitt romney is hammering home his business background, looking to take a decisive advantage in the republican race. >> the economy is what i do, it is what i know, it is what i've done. >> reporter: while rick santorum battles to regain momentum. >> we're doing as well as anybody in all of these races. >> reporter: with 11 contests this super tuesday, the symbolic prize remains the general election battleground of ohio. for the latest nbc news/marist poll shows romney gaining on santorum. their matchup now a statistical dead heat. because santorum failed to complete the required paperwork, he may not be eligible for more than a quarter of ohio's delegates. >> it is a tough state for us because of the fact that with the money disadvantage, but we're -- we have got a great
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grassroots campaign. we're hanging in there. >> reporter: throwing her support behind romney, former first lady barbara bush who recorded a phone message for voters in ohio and vermont. >> we have known the romneys for years and believe mitt is the best man to lead the country for the next four years. and ann will make a great first lady. >> reporter: also today, eric cantor, the number two republican in the house, endorsed romney on "meet the press." >> mitt romney is the only candidate in the race who has put forward a bold, pro growth, pro jobs plan for the future. >> reporter: and newt gingrich is staking his claim to his home state of georgia, with the largest pot of delegates up for grabs this super tuesday. >> we really worked very hard to make sure we can carry georgia and all the polls now indicate we will. >> reporter: in total, 424 delegates are available on super tuesday, that's more than all the republican candidates collected so far this entire primary season. but, lester, we're still a long way off before any one of those
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candidate has enough delegates to clinch the republican nomination. for more on all this, we turn to nbc's political and chief white house correspondent chuck todd. what message was the president sending in the remarks about iran in advance of the meeting with israel's benjamin netanyahu? >> two things. number one, making it clear, particularly to those on the domestic side here, politically, that containment was never an option, was never a strategy, meaning that somehow that some day the united states would be willing to deal with a nuclear iran, a la north korea. instead the message being we'll do what it takes to stop iran from getting a nuclear weapon. the second was reassurance to prime minister netanyahu that, look, eventually the u.s. will act militarily if necessary, but he was trying to buy time from netanyahu and we'll see, you know. he has his own domestic problems in israel. it is clear in polling there that before he did any military
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strike he would need united states support. what is interesting here, lester, both world leaders here have domestic political issues to deal with on this issue. >> and on that note, let's look ahead to super tuesday. ohio in particular, a dead heat. but romney picked up some key conservative endorsements. what may tip the scale there and potentially tip the scale in the overall campaign? >> it appears to be momentum. that's the thing. winning begets winning and clearly the michigan victory on tuesday gave romney some momentum. he's closing pretty well. look where he was today. he was in atlanta, georgia, knoxville, tennessee. mitt romney sees an opportunity not only to catch santorum. remember, santorum -- ohio is a must-win for santorum, not for romney. to catch him in ohio and then upset him in tennessee and, lester, it puts the entire race away. >> chuck todd, our washington newsroom. chuck, thanks. nbc news will have special super tuesday coverage beginning at 10:00 p.m. eastern, 8:00 p.m. on the west on this nbc station.
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overseas to russia now, where they held a presidential election today. it appears to be back to the future for vladimir putin, who served two terms as president and became prime minister and is now headed for the presidency once again. despite allegations of widespread voting fraud. nbc's jim maceda has that story from moscow. >> reporter: relaxed and confident, prime minister vladimir putin looked like a man who knew he was a shoo-in to win an unprecedented third term as president. across 11 time zones, the turnout was high, and partial results were as expected. with putin winning over 60%, and avoiding a runoff with other kremlin approved candidates. >> who did you vote for? >> for putin. >> putin. >> reporter: russia's 90,000 polling stations saw something new. web cams, feeding live images of the voting and supposedly any cheating. the half a billion dollar project meant to clean up putin's tarnished image after allegations of widespread fraud
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in december's parliamentary elections. that triggered a series of massive street protests by angry middle class russians, fed up with what they see as a corrupted repressive system led by putin. but opposition leaders cried foul again today, citing thousands of violations, like this ballot stuffing caught on one web cam. they're calling a putin win illegitimate. this election comes at a defining moment for russia, does it want six, 12 more years of putin's authoritarian rule or a more open democratic society? increasingly it looks like that battle will be won or lost in the streets. >> putin! >> reporter: tonight, as putin thanked his supporters, teary eyed near red square, the opposition promised more protests and riot police reinforcements braced for violence. >> it is a fight because it is already split. and the crack is growing wider and wider. >> reporter: the seemingly
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unbeatable vladimir putin is poised to be named president-elect again tomorrow. but some kremlin watchers say this victory will be his last. jim maceda, nbc news, moscow. e. spiriva helps control my copd symptoms... by keeping my airways open a full 24 hours. plus, it reduces copd flare-ups. spiriva is the only once-daily inhaled copd maintenance treatment that does both. and it's steroid-free. spiriva does not replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms. tell your doctor if you have kidney problems, glaucoma, trouble urinating, or an enlarged prostate.
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>> reporter: tiffany bast is a former flight attendant in denver trying her best to become a teacher. >> there are times when i'm in the classroom by myself i cry and i think what am i doing. >> reporter: for help, she turns to fifth grade teacher stephanie franco. >> it is important for me to be her guide, her coach. >> reporter: mentor and apprentice. they're part of a fast growing trend in education called urban teacher residencies, modeled after medical residencies. >> we think of it as this process of standing side by side with someone who is experienced, being an apprentice for a period of time. >> reporter: in cities across the country, hundreds of rookies like bast are paired with veteran educators for one year. the aspiring teachers are paid, get thousands of dollars toward earning a masters degree, and something perhaps more valuable, real training. >> there are good days and bad days. on my bad days, i have somebody there to help.
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>> reporter: in return, the residents pledge to teach in urban schools for three to five years. low income, high needs districts, struggling to retain good teachers, often see half of them leave within a year or two after arriving. but residency programs boast the national retention rate of 85%. in the denver area, it is 96%. this woman is now in her eighth year as an urban teacher. why are you still here? >> these kids need great teachers. they need so much support and so much love. >> reporter: retaining teachers is one thing, improving test scores, that's another. right now it is unclear if these republican den sy progr residency programs are improving student achievement. >> as exiting programs move to scale that effectiveness will see itself out. >> reporter: for now, the program is giving tiffany bast the confidence she needs. >> now i'm totally comfortable standing in front of the kids and delivering a lesson. >> reporter: while learning her own lessons on how to be an effective teacher. thanh truong, nbc news, denver.
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and up next here tonight, an ode to the oreo cookie at 100. ♪ our machines help identify early stages of cancer and it's something that we're extremely proud of. you see someone who is saved because of this technology, you know that the things that you do in your life, matter. if i did have an opportunity to meet a cancer survivor, i'm sure i could take something positive away from that. [ jocelyn ] my name is jocelyn, and i'm a cancer survivor. [ mimi ] i had cancer. i have no evidence of disease now. [ erica ] i would love to meet the people that made the machines. i had such an amazing group of doctors and nurses, it would just make such a complete picture of why i'm sitting here today. ♪ test. p test. test.
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the scene in sicily, today, as mt. etna erupted for the third time this year. the volcano is the tallest and most active in europe, though it erupts frequently, it rarely causes damage. that's not the case on hawaii's big island where this weekend the kilauea volcano destroyed the last house still standing in the town of royal gardens. for almost 30 years, the volcano has been slowly consuming that town. britain's prince harry was in the caribbean this weekend, helping to celebrate queen elizabeth's 60 years on the throne. the prince made his first visit to the bahamas among other things. he opened an exhibit of photographs in nassau, depicting his grandmother's royal visits to that country. he later boarded a patrol boat to take part in military exercises around some of the other islands in the bahamas.
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this week a big birthday for a classic american snack, the oreo, known as milk's favorite cookie turns 100. the national biscuit company rolled out first oreo from a new york city bakery in 1912. today, the cream-filled chocolate sandwiches are sold in 100 countries, earning $1.5 billion a year. by the way, kraft, which owns the brand, says half of oreo lovers pull the cookies apart before eating them. so now you know. up next, we'll meet some remarkable people here in indiana, who give new meaning to the spirit of giving. david. we've got to cancel. i've got gas.
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finally tonight, it has been said before, tough times have a way of bringing out the best in us. and these are tough times for the people of henryville, indiana, and lots of other towns hit by friday's storms. thankfully they're getting a lot of help from some very caring people. in the process, everyone is discovering that help can be a two-way street. they seem to appear at every disaster, strangers. >> i got food and water, jimmy john sandwiches. are you hungry. >> reporter: lay men who come from around the corner or around
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the country with food, able hands, and who, like these volunteers who drove to henryville from ohio, ask nothing more than how can i help? >> i wanted to meet people where they're at, and so we came, brought clothes and food and water and those kind of things. >> reporter: it can be overwhelming for those on the receiving end, discovering that their lowest moment, neighbors they didn't know they had. >> in the world we are in now, nobody really cares about nobody no more. but when disasters come, then, this little community pitched in, everybody is helping everybody. >> reporter: what motivates people to get in their car and drive miles and miles and miles to help strangers? >> i really think it is a sense of connecting to some other person that is going through something that could happen to you. it is a feeling of wanting to make things right. i can fix this. i can help fix this. >> reporter: this is a red cross mental health specialist. we sometimes chalk this up to a
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heartland, a midwest sensibility. is this -- is this universal what we're seeing here? >> we all care about each other. when they have tsunamis in one place, home volunteer ss went or there. it is a person thing. we care about each other. >> reporter: extra hands helping to remove debris or clebollecti precious photos is an obvious practical help. but she says the emotional value is big. >> we need to know that -- i touched you, you know, you felt that, didn't you? that's what we need. >> and we in turn have been touched by the number of people here who have thanked us for sharing their stories with the rest of the country during these difficult days. that's "nbc nightly news" for this sunday. brian williams will be the anchor tomorrow. i'm lester holt reporting from henryville, indiana. don't